Instagram has confirmed to THUMP that it recently made the #EDM hashtag unsearchable. News about the ban started to circulate today, prompting speculation that it was caused by the recent drug-related deaths at HARD Summer.
A spokesperson at Instagram told us over email: "We block (i.e. make unsearchable) certain hashtags when they are consistently being used to share images and videos that violate our Community Guidelines. In this case, #EDM was being used to share content that violates our guidelines around nudity."
"We're working on a way to more quickly restore certain hashtags that have previously been blocked," they added. "We're also working on ways to better communicate our policies around hashtags."
This is hardly the first time that seemingly innocuous words have been blacklisted by Instagram. Earlier this month, the company caused a small furor when it banned the #curvy hashtag for the same reason.
But before you start throwing kandi-covered Molotovs, let's be clear: it's highly unlikely that the #edm ban has anything to do with EDM culture at all. Rather, Instagram gets rid of any hashtag that crosses a certain threshold for inappropriate content. So in theory, #DavidGuetta could also get banned on Instagram if enough people started posting pictures of their balls using that hashtag. (Not that we're encouraging this or anything.)
That's also why hashtags like #asstomouth, #butthash, or #swingingdicks (you're welcome) have not been banned—pornographic content associated with those terms just hasn't reached the critical mass needed for them to get dumped into Instagram's trash can. On the flip side, this is just another sign that EDM is huge.
Update [August 7, 2015]: Instagram has reinstated #EDM hashtag, apparently deciding that it will not lead the kids down the stray path of pornography after all. The usual shitpics and memes posted under the hashtag can be found here.
Michelle Lhooq is #edm4life. Follow her on Twitter